The dendritic cells adopt an ingenious approach here - they not only produce special substances with a cell-damaging effect, they also manage to fight the tumour without the help of T and B cells and natural killer (NK) cells. This complex interaction was discovered by scientists participating in a doctoral programme of the Austrian Science Fund FWF. It was also recently published and commented on in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
For 15 years now the drug Imiquimod has been authorised for the treatment of certain skin diseases, including some types of skin cancer. And during that period, the drug, which is administered as a skin cream, has proven to be an effective treatment. Despite this therapeutic success, the drug´s exact mechanism of action was not known to date. However, a research group working with Prof. Maria Sibilia, Head of the Institute for Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna, has now succeeded in determining some unknown and surprising effects of Imiquimod (Imi) on special immune cells.CELLULAR INFANTRY
The group actually succeeded in demonstrating that CCL2 then causes the migration of additional immune system cells. The analysis of the subsequent activity of these immune cells generated a real surprise for the scientists: the immune cells, called plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), were considered to be modulators up to now. However, in their reaction to Imi, they proved to be bona fide aggressors.FIGHTING STRATEGY
Overall, the team from the doctoral programme "Inflammation and Immunity" succeeded in discovering a new mechanism of action of dendritic cells in fighting tumours; it had never been possible before to observe such a direct attack on tumours by pDCs. Further studies will reveal the extent to which this discovery will benefit the development of innovative cancer therapies. Some important questions remain open, however, as Dr. Drobits explains: "It is known that some tumour cells produce CCL2 themselves. In other words, they should have triggered the same cascade as Imi. But this did not always result in a positive disease progression. We do not yet know why this is the case and it needs to be explained." In meeting challenges like this, the FWF´s doctoral programme once again proves that it is fulfilling an important goal: to give young scientists the opportunity to work at the vanguard of cutting-edge science.
Original publication: Imiquimod clears tumors in mice independent of adaptive immunity by converting pDCs into tumor-killing effector cells. B. Drobits, M. Holcmann, N. Amberg, M. Swiecki, R. Grundtner, M. Hammer, M. Colonna, and M. Sibilia. J Clin Invest. 2012;122(2):575 585. doi:10.1172/JCI61034.Picture and text available from Monday, March 26 2012, 9 am CET at:
Stefan Bernhardt | PR&D
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences